ROAMING TO and FRO: Shuwt. Verb. (Strong’s 7751).
Sounds like: shewt
In the Bible wandering and roaming are two different things. People who wander aren’t necessarily lost, but they are a little bit directionless. People who roam have a purpose. Shuwt is not wandering aimlessly; shuwt is roaming around with intent. When you shuwt, you are usually walking around, to and fro, looking for something.
The first time this word showed up in the Bible people were roaming about looking for manna:
Now the manna was like coriander seed, and its appearance like that of bdellium. The people would roam about [shatu] and gather it and grind it between two millstones, or pound it in the mortar, and boil it in the pot and make loaves with it; and its taste was like the taste of cake baked with oil. When the dew came down on the camp at night, the manna would come down with it.
The people had a job to do; they roamed about and foraged for their food.
When King David wanted a census to be taken he ordered the army to roam about and conduct the census:
2 Samuel 24:2, 8-9
So the king said to Joab the commander of the army, who was with him, “Roam about [shuwt] now through all the tribes of Israel, from Dan to Beersheba, and conduct a census of the people, so that I may know the number of the people.”
…So when they had roamed about [wai-y-shuwtu] through the whole land, they came to Jerusalem at the end of nine months and twenty days. And Joab gave the number of the census of the people to the king: in Israel there were eight hundred thousand valiant men who drew the sword, and the men of Judah were five hundred thousand men.
Roaming had a purpose and it was connected to a thorough action. You roamed around to get the job done.
Sometimes YHWH directed His prophets to roam about:
[YHWH to Jeremiah:] “Roam about [showt’tu] through the streets of Jerusalem,mnd look and take notice.
And seek in her public squares, If you can find a person, if there is one who does justice, who seeks honesty, then I will forgive her.
And although they say, ‘As YHWH lives,’ certainly they swear falsely.”
[Jeremiah to YHWH:] YHWH, do Your eyes not look for honesty?
You have struck them, but they did not weaken; You have consumed them, but they refused to accept discipline. They have made their faces harder than rock; they have refused to repent.
Then I said, “They are only the poor, they are foolish; for they do not know the way of YHWH or the judgment of their God. I will go to the great and speak to them, for they know the way of YHWH and the judgment of their God.”
But together they too have broken the yoke and burst the restraints.
Not knowing the way of YHWH is very different from not seeking the way of YHWH. Jeremiah wanted to teach them and lead them in the right direction so that they would want to seek and have a relationship with their God. YHWH was looking for honesty, a sincere heart, and Jeremiah wanted to get them there.
Sometimes only out of desperation do people seek YHWH, not because they sincerely want to have a relationship with Him, but only because they want something from Him.
“Behold, days are coming,” declares the Lord YHWH, “when I will send a famine on the land, not a famine of bread or a thirst for water, but rather for hearing the words of YHWH.
People will stagger from sea to sea and from the north even to the east; they will roam [w-showt’tu] about to seek the word of YHWH, but they will not find it.”
This seems to fly in the face of what we read in the Torah:
But from there you will seek YHWH your God, and you will find Him if you search for Him with all your heart and all your soul. When you are in distress and all these things happen to you, in the latter days you will return to YHWH your God and listen to His voice. For YHWH your God is a compassionate God; He will not abandon you nor destroy you, nor forget the covenant with your fathers which He swore to them.
If you seek YHWH with a sincere heart, you will find Him; but if you seek Him for your own personal gain, He won’t be found. In Amos’s day there was a famine of YHWH’s words because the people weren’t seeking a relationship with YHWH… they looked for Him and wondered why He wasn’t there, but they weren’t looking for Him to return to Him.
Roaming with intent didn’t just happen on land. Ezekiel poetically spoke of Tyre’s great dominion over the sea. Her rowers were sea roamers (Ezekiel 27:8), celebrated merchants of the sea. But Tyre would stumble in the very sea they thought they controlled, and it would devour her rowers along with all the ship’s inhabitants:
Ezekiel 27:26-27, 32b-34
“Your rowers [The roamers: ha-shatim] have brought you into great waters; the east wind has broken you in the heart of the seas.
Your wealth, your wares, your merchandise, your seamen and your sailors, your repairers of leaks, your dealers in merchandise, and all your men of war who are in you, with all your contingent that is in your midst, will fall into the heart of the seas on the day of your overthrow.”
…‘Who is like Tyre, like her who is silent in the midst of the sea?’
When your merchandise went out from the seas, you satisfied many peoples; with the abundance of your wealth and your merchandise you enriched the kings of the earth.
Now that you are broken by the seas in the depths of the waters, your merchandise and all your company have fallen in the midst of you.”
When you roam with intent, increasing your great power and wealth, but without a care for YHWH, you will fall into the depths of chaos. What you thought you controlled will turn around and devour you.
How are you roaming the earth? What is your intent? Every day you go to and fro… for what purpose? What drives you? What makes you take the next step? Is it the push for more money, for more “you time”, for more acknowledgement at work? When you wander back and forth on this earth, does any of your intent include YHWH?
Ha-Satan Roaming the Earth
Probably the most well known use of the verb shuwt in the Tanakh (Old Testament) was used by the formidable Adversary, ha-Satan, in the Book of Job:
Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before YHWH, and Satan also came among them.
YHWH said to Satan, “From where do you come?”
Satan answered YHWH and said, “From roaming about [mi-shuwt] on the earth and walking around on it.”
YHWH said to Satan, “Have you considered My servant Job? For there is no one like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, fearing God and turning away from evil.”
The Adversary considered what YHWH said about Job, and he tested Job harshly. But even with the loss of his children, his farm labourers and his farm animals, Job still did no sin or blame God. But ha-Satan was not finished:
Again, there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before YHWH, and Satan also came among them to present himself before YHWH.
YHWH said to Satan, “Where have you come from?”
Then Satan answered YHWH and said, “From roaming about [mi-shuwt] on the earth and walking around on it.”
YHWH said to Satan, “Have you considered My servant Job? For there is no one like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man fearing God and turning away from evil. And he still holds firm to his integrity, although you incited Me against him to ruin him without cause.”
Satan answered YHWH and said, “Skin for skin! Yes, all that a man has, he will give for his life. However, reach out with Your hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh; he will curse You to Your face!”
So YHWH said to Satan, “Behold, he is in your power, only spare his life.”
Job would continue to be tested to the very edge of his limit. The Adversary would throw his worst at Job and although he stumbled and fell, Job would not curse YHWH. He got back up and stood firmly for his God.
What was ha-Satan doing while he was roaming about the earth? Well, it seems that he was looking to stir up trouble, and he was doing it with great intent.
Peter gave his thoughts on the subject:
1 Peter 5:8-9
Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around [Greek: peripatei] like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. So resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brothers and sisters who are in the world.
Even the demons, spoken about in the New Testament, were shown to be roamers and seekers, waiting to devour humans. Yeshua (Jesus) spent a lot His energy exiling demons out of people, but He also recognized that exiled demons would roam about and look for a new habitation, and they might just come back to where they started:
Luke 11:20-26 (see also Matthew 12:38-45)
[Jesus:] “But if I cast out the demons by the finger of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you. When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own house, his possessions are secure. But when someone stronger than him attacks and overpowers him, that man takes away his armor on which he had relied and distributes his plunder. The one who is not with Me is against Me; and the one who does not gather with Me scatters.
When the unclean spirit comes out of a person, it roams [Greek: dierchetai] through waterless places seeking rest, and not finding any, it then says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ And when it comes, it finds it swept and put in order. Then it goes and brings along seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they come in and live there; and the last condition of that person becomes worse than the first.”
Evil roams, evil lurks, evil finds and attaches itself to whomever it can and it builds its strength from there. It roamed with intent and found what it was looking for. It sought, it found, it stayed. We must be vigilant so that we do not become a resting place for evil to set up shop.
YHWH Roaming the Earth
But ha-Satan was not the only one who roamed about the earth with intent.
We’re not perfect. YHWH knows this. He understands that we will sin, we will stumble, we will fall… spectacularly in some instances. But when we hold onto our faith, when we intentionally seek God, He sees us:
2 Chronicles 16:9a
For the eyes of YHWH roam [m’showt’towt] throughout the earth, so that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His.
YHWH is not blind… He sees exactly what is going on and He knows our hearts. He can’t be fooled. Others may know the Bible better than we do; they may have a fuller grasp of religious laws and traditions; they may sound like they pray better than we do… but all of that does not matter to God. What He’s looking for is our sincere hearts and our loyal devotion. That’s what He truly cares about.
YHWH promised us redemption, freedom, and a reuniting with His presence. If we seek Him, He will let us find Him and He will bring us home.
Zechariah was given a very ornate prophetic vision of seven lamps with seven spouts (which John reiterated in his own prophetic vision (Revelation 1:12-20 and Revelation 11:1-12)). When Zechariah asked the angel that accompanied him what the seven lamps were meant to represent, he received the following cryptic answer:
”Then he said to me [Zechariah], “This is the word of YHWH to Zerubbabel, saying, ‘Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ says YHWH of armies. ‘What are you, you great mountain? Before Zerubbabel you will become a plain; and he will bring out the top stone with shouts of “Grace, grace to it!”’”
Also the word of YHWH came to me, saying, “The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundation of this house, and his hands will finish it. Then you will know that YHWH of armies has sent me to you. For who has shown contempt for the day of small things? But these seven will rejoice when they see the plumb line in the hand of Zerubbabel—they are the eyes of YHWH roaming [m-showt’tim] throughout the earth.”
Zerubbabel was the Governor who would return to Jerusalem after their exile in Babylon was over. It was Zerubbabel who laid the foundation stone when the Temple was rebuilt. YHWH’s eyes, like the seven lamps, watched everything and His eyes expressed great joy when the Temple was restored. All the eyes of YHWH’s children, His lights in this world, would celebrate with YHWH, the God who watches everything.
The prophet Daniel was also given an ornate prophetic vision. There would, one day, be a battle in which the hearts of the sincere would rise up and shine in YHWH’s Kingdom:
[Angel to Daniel:] “And those who have insight will shine like the glow of the expanse of heaven, and those who lead the many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever. But as for you, Daniel, keep these words secret and seal up the book until the end of time; many will roam about [ya-showt’tu], and knowledge will increase.”
In our time, we ought to roam about, intentionally seeking YHWH and increasing our knowledge. This is my hope for hebrewwordlessons.com… that it be used as a tool to help us dive deep into the Bible, increasing our knowledge, so that we can shine like stars in this rather dark world that we find ourselves living in.
Roam about! Seek YHWH with intent, and His ever roaming eyes will see your heart, lift you up and cause you to shine forever and ever!
Next week: Revisiting SCARLET